Special Inaugural Issue


Under a three-year grant (RR10294) awarded to the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science by the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health, the UM Aplysia Facility became the "National Resource for Aplysia " on May 1, 1996. What does this mean for your Aplysia research and educational projects? For starters it means that we have been able to slash prices on Aplysia and algae for NIH-sponsored investigators (SEE Pricing & Ordering Information and "What if my Aplysia research is sponsored by NON-NIH sources?"). Now we can supply cultured organisms of the highest quality, from all age classes, year-round, at prices which are competitive with those of wild-caught organisms. Since our organisms are bred and raised under defined conditions (e.g., diet, temperature, etc.), and screened for known diseases, this represents an incredible opportunity for investigators using Aplysia to increase the quality and consistency of their research results, without overburdening their research budgets.

A second major benefit of the NCRR grant is that it supports several basic science projects (e.g., genetics, animal health, developmental neurophysiology) aimed at improving the resource. One of these research projects will be featured in each issue of the newsletter (this issue, SEE FROM MONTEREY TO THE SEA OF CORTEZ) so that you can become familiar with our research and researchers. According to the Scientific Director of the Resource, Professor Pat Walsh, "The science projects are vital to our ability to keep up with the changing demands of research on Aplysia". Furthermore, Pat desires the fostering of collaborative projects with external investigators, "By combining the expertise of Resource scientists and the basic husbandry skills of our Resource production team, with the scientific objectives of external users, we should be able to design experiments never before attempted with Aplysia" (SEE THE DAISY CHAIN)

Another important activity we hope to foster is enhanced communication among resource users. We want to hear your feedback about our resource (the good, the bad and the slimey). Also, we hope you will share your "Aplysia" secrets/quandries with fellow investigators. To start the interchange going, please "snail"-mail or e-mail your response to our questions below. Feel free to include whatever comments or questions you might have. We'll publish selected comments in upcoming issues of "Slime Lines", and will award an Aplysia Resource T-shirt to the most useful comment/tip in each issue (as judged by an impartial panel of Resource personnel). Furthermore, each issue of "Slime Lines" will run a feature on the research of an Aplysia User (this issue, SEE "Annals of Lab Carew", page 4).

What if my Aplysia research is not sponsored by NIH sources?

For the initial months of our NCRR grant, we project that we will only be able to provide discounts to NIH-sponsored investigators (who qualify by providing grant information, Download a QUALIFICATION FORM). However, it is likely that we will be able to eventually provide some discounts to our other valued users. One possibility we want to explore is NSF or other multi-agency funding for the Resource. Thus, even if you do not have NIH support, it will be useful to us/you if you fill out a Qualification Form, send us an abstract from your grant(s), and cite our NIH grant number (RR10294) in your publications. When we have accumulated grant information on non-NIH users, we will have enough ammunition to ask other agencies to support your research through discounted prices. So please, send us your grant info!


Although culturing Aplysia is usually 9 parts science, it requires 1 part (sometimes more) of what's known in aquaculture as a "wet thumb". Mr. Tom Capo, the Aplysia Resource Manager, has a wet thumb from culturing Aplysia since he, Professor Eric Kandel and colleagues (HHMI/Columbia University) closed the life cycle in captivity (Kandel and Capo, 1979 Veliger 22: 194-198; Capo et al., 1987. 53rd Ann. Meeting of the Am. Malacological Union; Nadeau et al., 1989. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 131: 171-193). Continued on page 2...


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